By Gloria Austin
Paul Dorward has taken his lifelong hobby of hunting and turned it into a business at the East Branch Lodge near Haynesville on Route 2A just south of Houlton.
East Branch Lodge offers a complete package for the big game sportsman with Maine guide services for bear, whitetail deer and moose.
“Our typical hunt for bear is over bait,” said Dorward. “Moose is calling and stalking, while deer is from hunting stands.”
The average cost of a hunt varies, he added. The average bear hunt cost $1,500, while a full-guided moose hunt is $2,400 for a weeklong experience.
“The cost includes meals, lodging and transportation during the hunt,” Dorward said.
Other trips include grouse, along with turkey hunting in Wildlife Management District zone 11, and fishing trips for brook trout and small mouth bass.
“We are located along the Mattawamkeag River for fishing and canoeing,” said Dorward. “There are many lakes and streams throughout the area for different activities, as well.”
Dorward and his wife Kathy, who are originally from Pennsylvania, took over the title of the East Branch Lodge in 2000. The lodge was built by the former owner and his brother in the mid-1990s.
“We have good hunting and good fishing,” said Dorward. “We are right along the ATV and sled trails which is a big plus.”
East Branch Lodge also offers camp rentals and snowmobile rentals.
“In the winter months, snowmobilers can ride along miles of groomed trails maintained by local clubs,” Dorward said.
Dorward said the most popular services that the lodge offer are bear and deer hunting.
“During hunting season, most of our clientele are from out-of-state,” said Dorward. “But, our campers and ATVers are mostly from Maine.”
The East Branch Lodge is unique from other lodges in a couple of ways.
“We have electric,” said Dorward. “And, its quiet here. It’s not a tourist area and it doesn’t get crowded. It’s semi-remote.”
Along with electricity, other comforts of home are satellite television and of course, shopping. Houlton is just 20 miles away.
“We have started getting a few ATVers in the area,” Dorward said. “We have a good trail system into the camp. We can offer camp rentals to the locals or non-residents for ATVing or fishing.”
According to East Branch Lodge’s web site, the big camps hold a maximum of eight people and both Cedar and Partridge camps hold four each. They are warmed with monitor heaters or pellet stove. The lodge also offers hot showers in the central shower house and they have freezers on site for all game care and hides.
Though all the camps are fully-equipped for cooking, if someone chooses not to, a local restaurant is within 15 minutes of the lodge, offering home cooked meals.
“Many hunters have enjoyed successful hunts at East Branch Lodge,” said the lodge’s web site. “Our guides are professionals that know Northern Maine like the back of their hand. They will get you to the game you’re hunting; the rest is up to you.”
For hunting or fishing check out East Brach Lodge at www.eastbranchlodge.com or call Dorward at 694-1185.
By Gloria Austin